Jack Ross answered questions from Sunderland supporters on BBC Newcastle last night.
There was a selection hint ahead of the weekend, a robust defence of George Honeyman and some detailed analysis of Sunderland's set piece woes.
You can listen to the full show here and read some of the highlights below...
ON SUNDERLAND'S SET-PIECE STRUGGLES
Working on it and the consistency of working on it on the training pitch doesn’t always guarantee it will work on a matchday, because a lot of different things can happen during a game. It can be individual concentration, a mistake, as much as it can be the team and how you set up.
We continue to work on it and we will continue to work on it until we get it right. We’ll have to be clever and inventive because it’s plain to see that we give up a lot of physicality in most games. We can rectify that a little bit with personnel but most weeks we’ll give up height at set-pieces, we’ll have to be inventive in how we deal with it. We’re aware of it.
ON THE TYNE-WEAR DERBY & NEWCASTLE....
If it’s in the Premier League it would certainly be a career highlight. That’s the reason why I came to the club, to take it back to the level that everyone knows it should be at. That fixture is obviously a massive highlight for everyone involved with both clubs.
I’ve spoken to Lee Cattermole who has obviously been involved in it, he was actually at an Old Firm game recently and he spoke of the similar intensity. It would be a significant achievement for me as it would show we’re back at that level and it would be a great encounter to be part of.
I haven’t met too many Newcastle fans yet, I’ve kept a fairly low profile. But anyone I have met has been nice so far. Long may that continue.
ON GEORGE HONEYMAN AND A JORDAN HENDERSON COMPARISON....
In terms of his performances, by his own admission there will be some games he will think he could do better in, other games he has performed well in. He has had to play a lot of different positions. My own thoughts, his forward runs and energy, for me, makes him most effective in that middle to front area. We have had to chop and change systems.
From taking on the captaincy and that responsibility, you become a figurehead and naturally one that becomes more likely to be criticised.
You speak to people around the club and they speak to me about Jordan Henderson, when he was at the club as a player and got some criticism for his performances and yet now he is probably perceived in a totally different way given his success with Liverpool and England.
George knows how supportive I am in terms of his role but equally he is no different to any other player and needs to perform to a certain level to stay in the team but he has done well for me.
ON CALLS FOR TOM FLANAGAN TO PLAY...
He is now put himself very much in our thoughts because he’s at full fitness.
He was the one I felt most sorry for, he played almost every minute in pre-season, he would have started against Charlton but then picked up an injury. He’s come back quicker than we anticipated, he’s pretty much ready to be considered to play properly.
He’s had some gametime and played in a bounce match during the week as well. Sometimes, because of the circumstances we’ve had, some players have been involved in squads earlier than they would have been and automatically people assume they’re ready to go. But he’s now fully fit.